Wednesday, 7 January 2009

More on Deptford High Street

At first glance, Deptford High Street isn't historically exciting. The shop fronts are mostly modern, and the street can look a little shabby. However, there are plenty of interesting historical features - especially above the ground floor. Here are just a few.

You don't have to read local history for long before realising that Deptford was well-provided with drinking places in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Signs both textual and pictorial bear visible testimony to this:










Underneath the 'Elizabeth Place 1811' plaque below is a painted S: from the style and colouring, it seems to be a bomb shelter sign (compare it to the other examples Deptford Se8ker has spotted on the High Street). The window on the right is so grimy that it's easily missed, but the ornate style indicates that it has survived from grander days.
















Another unexpectedly elaborate survival above a pound shop:


Finally, this poor building has fared less well. As I posted last year, the former eighteenth-century bakery is now on English Heritage's 'at risk' list.

7 comments:

Peter Ashley said...

I loved these, thankyou. Particularly the possible air raid shelter indicator. I once found a metal ARP Post sign still attached to a tree on the Isle of Wight.

Adam said...

I love the British High Street, not for the fact that it contains pretty much the same shops everywhere, but for the reasons you show here. It's scruffy and unkempt, but for those who have their eyes open, there are lots of little historical pearls that nobody ever thought about clearing away.
It seem that we're now set for further revolution in the High Street, and I'd like to think it would be a clearing away of chainstores and the return of independant traders. Whatever the changes are though, your pictures show how the High Street just adapts and survives.

Deptford Dame said...

I'm sure I saw a 'sold' sign on the at risk building the other day. I am curious to see what will become of it.

CarolineLD said...

Oh, it would be lovely to see the building sold and looked after - it always looks so hunched and bullied by its neighbours.

Adam, I agree that it would be lovely to see more independent stores reappear. Funnily enough, that seems to have happened to Deptford in previous decades: in the past it had department stores and even a Marks & Spencer, but all are gone now. Maybe it's ahead of its time!

Peter, what an amazing find!

SE8KER said...

That's definitely a Shelter sign, well spotted!

CarolineLD said...

Thank you for confirming that. I wouldn't have recognised it if it weren't for your post: hope to read more from you soon!

SE8KER said...

Have added a post on my blog featuring this shelter sign, more to follow on others in central London...

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